To the Editor:

I have now had several days to reflect on the past weekend. Although it was a time of great sadness, there was a tremendous sense of patriotism, beauty and pride as we celebrated the life of my husband, Phil Reeves. The “sea of blue” as the fire departments of Wilton, Westport and Bridgeport and the Army/National Guard brothers came together, represented a symbol of Phil’s two worlds coming together in solidarity. These were his two true passions that defined the man that Phil was. He was smiling down upon us as we celebrated the accomplished life he led. Phil touched many lives throughout his careers, and the outpouring of love and support was shown with such love and dedication.

Both the wake and the funeral were filled with special touches that could not have happened without the incredibly dedicated team that worked countless hours and thought of every detail to put Friday and Saturday together. This amazing team was made up of: Bridgeport FD, Westport FD, Wilton FD, Fairfield FD, New Canaan FD, Norwalk FD, Wilton Volunteer FD, Norwalk PD, Wilton PD, CERT, Wilton EMS, Norwalk EMS, Norwalk EMD, CT Statewide Honor Guard, American Legion Post 86, St Matthews Church, and the U.S. Army — all in the effort to give Phil the tribute and celebration that they felt he most certainly deserved. As well as this amazing team, there was a special committee that brought together the community to help with refreshments for the reception. The community of Wilton once again has shown such an outpouring of love and support. The Reeves family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts.

Through all of this, Phil’s legacy continues. He has brought together many new friendships and has widened his knowledge and wisdom through the stories they now share. We will all carry Phil’s strength, honor and sense of pride with us each day. He will be greatly missed by many.

Robyn Reeves

Wilton

Tax would affect patient care

To the Editor:

If enacted, the governor’s taxation proposal as it pertains to Connecticut hospitals would indeed be a disaster that would affect the quality of care for everyone. (Editorial, “What we like (and don’t) in budget pitch,” Feb. 10)

As the policy debates heat up, I will be reminding my colleagues at the state Capitol that every dollar that a hospital is taxed represents funding that is diverted from direct patient care. Our state’s not-for-profit hospitals cannot simply pack up and move to a more business-friendly state, as many for-profit companies have contemplated or done. They are dedicated to serving our local communities by providing lifesaving treatments and interventions.

As one senior industry executive warned last year, “We’re being taxed into oblivion.” Are we listening?

State Sen. Tony Hwang

Fairfield

Editor’s note: Hwang represents the 28th District towns of Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport.

Does college

athletics = big bucks?

To the Editor:

Families worrying about the increasing competitiveness of college admissions and how students can stand out often think athletics is the way to increase the chance of being accepted and get scholarship money, to boot.

Two recent pieces considered athletics and admissions. In NPR’s “To Get a College Scholarship: Forget the Field, Hit the Books,” John U. Bacon questions the wisdom of travel teams, focusing on one sport year- round and the down side of junior tennis tournaments.

He suggests that one of the main reasons families go to extremes is to get an athletic scholarship. “Nationally, less than 2 percent of high school athletes will get college scholarships.”

His advice? “You want a scholarship? Forget the fields. Hit the books. It’s fool’s gold, people.”

This is too pat; an either-or proposition. As a consultant who guides students through the college process, I work with many who are good athletes and good students. Admission may come down to equally gifted athletes and the choice is to take the student with better grades, or equally academically qualified students and the choice goes to the one who helps the team.

In “The Myth of the Sports Scholarship,” the Chronicle of Higher Education offers an in-depth look at one family’s journey toward a swimming scholarship. It describes how the parents dedicated time and money allowing their daughter, a stand-out swimmer, to pursue excellence with the goal of securing a scholarship.

“Before long they had organized their lives around the sport, waking up at 3:30 in the morning to get her to practice on time and traveling across the country to watch her compete.”

The author, Brad Wolverton, advised, “For families expecting a return on their investment in their children’s sports, they are in for a surprise.”

“For many years, they have spent more than $10,000 a year on Allison’s swimming. Most of the money goes toward coaching and training costs and expenses for travel to meets. If her parents added up all the money they’ve invested in her training, they could have already paid for a couple of years at a prestigious university.”

However, these parents feel their daughter has already benefited from being a successful athlete.

Wolverton describes the complications of chasing an athletic scholarship, including the difficulty pinning down a number — how much could their daughter expect for her participation on their team? Ultimately, she was offered a scholarship at UCLA which brought the cost from $62,000 a year to just under $40,000.

The article also illustrates how scholarships vary in amounts from those that might only cover the cost of books to those that cover the full ride.

However, when some families hear the word “scholarship” they think “full ride” — for athletic, merit or need-based scholarships. A full ride is very rare in any area, and all scholarships come with strings attached. For athletes, I ask the “broken leg” questions: If you broke your leg and could not play, would you still choose this college? And if you lose your scholarship, can you afford this college?

Merit scholarships also come with conditions. If a student fails to maintain a certain GPA or other requirements, the scholarship is lost. And “need-based” aid is determined by the financial situation of the family and forms are filled out every year to assess this anew. All scholarship money from colleges is conditional.

It is also important to recognize the intangible benefits of being a high school athlete, aside from college scholarships: the chance to excel, gain confidence and learn responsibility, belong to and be part of a team, leadership and hopefully, how to win and to lose graciously.

According to the NCAA website, 480,000 out of 8,000,000 high school student athletes will play in NCAA colleges. That is still only 6 percent, but more than the 2 percent who receive athletic scholarships. Not all students who play will get a scholarship from a Division I or II college and Division III and DI-Ivy League give no athletic money.

What isn’t mentioned in either piece is that really excelling in an area may push you to the head of the line in admissions. This can be in athletics, academic talent or artistic performance. Being ranked or recognized on a national level is something all colleges are looking for. Would this out-of-state student have been admitted to UCLA — which only accepted about 17 percent of its applications — without her swimming? We can’t know.

But, fortunately for her, it doesn’t matter — she’s in.

Janet Rosier

Westport

Editor’s note: Janet Rosier is a certified educational planner and independent educational consultant in Westport. Her website is www.janetrosier.com.